Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mustang Musicians at the 2015 IMEC in All-State Ensembles

Nearly 1,000 student musicians from the state of Illinois performed concerts today in Peoria as a culmination of months of musical growth that came to fruition during the 2015 IMEC.  Working with internationally renowned guest conductors, these student musicians spent a few short days rehearsing together to present a concert in the Peoria Civic Center on January 31, 2015.   South High School was well represented with 11 student musicians participating nearly every ensemble.  Congratulations to these student musicians for their continued dedication to individual growth as performers and as musicians.  We thank each of you for representing our school, our community and ourselves with such dignity and elegance during the course of the conference.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A moment in time to celebrate....... @ILMEA1

The District 99 student musicians took a moment tonight to celebrate their collective sonic successes.  Special thanks to the Friends of Fine Arts for supporting the celebratory meal for the student musicians from South High School.

Congrats to DGS All-State Musicians @ILMEA1 #imec2015 #peoriaorbust

Congratulations and best wishes to the All-State bound student musicians in band, choir, orchestra and vocal jazz who are headed to Peoria today.  These musical ambassadors will represent the school and community with sonic dignity over the next three days, leading up to their concerts on Friday and Saturday of this week.  GO MUSTANGS!!!!!

Rotary Scholarships for Seniors - check it out!

Rotary Music Scholarship applications now being accepted!

The Rotary Club of Downers Grove is now accepting applications for their annual Charles Dickerman Music Scholarship. Each year the Rotary Club of Downers Grove gives a $2000 scholarship check to a deserving high school senior who resides in Downers Grove or the District 99 attendance area. Charles Dickerman was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Downers Grove.  He was a nuclear physicist at Argonne National Laboratory who had undergraduate degrees in both physics and music. Charles stayed involved in music throughout his life and was an avid bagpiper.

A scholarship application can be downloaded at

Applicants must have their forms postmarked by March 4, 2015. If selected as a finalist, candidates must be available for an interview and audition in the evening of March 24, 2015.

The qualifications to apply for this scholarship are:
·       Be a graduating senior attending a public, private, parochial or home school, and reside in Downers Grove or the High School District 99 attendance area.      
·       Plan to pursue a post-secondary education program.
·       Have participated in high school curricular music activities and/or extracurricular music activities. 
·       Composers and/or arrangers qualify for this scholarship. 
·       Pursuit of an undergraduate music major or minor is not required.
·       Financial need is not a criterion for selection.

A totally awesome night with the DGS Pep Band

Experience what it is like, up close and personal, to be a part of the awesome ensemble that is the DGS Pep Band from the perspective of a GoPro.   Go Mustangs!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

2015 American Vision award nominee
Emma Hansen, artist

2015 American Vision award nominee
Besiana Useni, artist

Hansel and Gretel

The Fine Arts Department at South High School in Downers Grove is pleased to announce the results of the judging from the 2015 Chicago area regional Scholastic Art Awards held at Downers Grove North High School. Over 1,000 student artists from 33 area high schools submitted 2,836 works of art for adjudication.  43 South High School visual art students merited 100 awards, including 41 Gold Key Awards, 30 Silver Key Awards, 27 Honorable Mention Awards, and 2 American Vision Award nominees. American Vision Award nominees are considered the "Best of Show" by the judging panel and only five pieces from the entire region are selected for this prestigious honor.  These pieces, and all the award winning pieces from the entire regions, will be unveiled at the Opening Reception on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from 1-4:00 PM in the auditorium foyer at Downers Grove North High School.  The works will continue in exhibit for one week following the opening reception.

“We are exceedingly proud of both the process followed by our student artists, and, of the products they all create.” said Glenn Williams, Fine Arts Department Chairman at South High.  “Scholastic Art Awards represent a high point of artistic achievement for a high school Visual Artist.”  For more information about DGS Visual Art, contact Glenn Williams at, or, go to our department blog at

American Vision Award Nominees
Emma Hansen (Photography)    Diluted
Besiana Useni (Digital Media)  Hansel and Gretel

Gold Key Awards
Isabella Aguirre (Photography)
Katrina Behrens (Ceramics and Glass)
Emma Hansen (5 Photography, Painting, Art Portfolio)
Micki Harris (Painting)
Kailey Holzman (Art Portfolio, Digital Art)
Allessandra Lane (Digital Art)
Tylie Loya (Design)
Juliette Moushon (Digital Art)

Crystal Panganiban (Art Portfolio, Photography)
Claire Pikul (4 Photography)
Allison Quinn (2 Drawing and Illustration)
Jose Sanchez (Digital Art, Photography, Art Portfolio)
Courtney Scott (Photography)
Jennifer Shi (Drawing and Illustration, Mixed Media, Painting, Art Portfolio)
Jasmine Smith (Photography)
Besiana Useni (Art Portfolio, 2 Digital Art)
Hannah Wood (Art Portfolio, Photography, Digital Art)
Nicole Wroblewski (Art Portfolio, 2 Drawing and Illustration, Painting)

Silver Key Awards
Khrystyna Bonkovska (Drawing and Illustration)
Marisa Carioscia (Ceramics and Glass)
Jocelyn Danalewich (Painting)
Autumn Ganahl (Drawing and Illustration)
Kailey Holzman (Digital Art, Photography)
Kaitlyn Hong (Painting)
Natalie Hutchison (Photography)
Gladys Jacob (Drawing and Illustration)
Briana Kesterson (Photography)
Rachel Kubik (Drawing and Illustration)
Julia Lucadello (Design)
Isabella Marzari (Design)
Allison McKenney (Drawing and Illustration)

Marissa Medina (Photography)
Crystal Panganiban (Photography)
Claire Pikul (Photography)
Alysse Potts (Painting)
Hannah Rossi (Ceramics and Glass)
Olivia Russo (Ceramics and Glass)
Jose Sanchez (Digital Art, Photography)
Courtney Scott (Photography)
Jennifer Shi (Drawing and Illustration)
Besiana Useni (Digital Art)
Hannah Wood (Art Portfolio, Digital Art)
Nicole Wroblewski (Painting, Drawing and Illustration)
Calla Zarek (Ceramics)

Honorable Mention Awards
Allison Adams (Drawing and Illustration)
Rob Batten (Mixed Media, Painting)
Khrystyna Bonkovska (Drawing and Illustration)
Jaedrian Dade (Ceramics and Glass)
Michaela Hackbarth (Design)
Emma Hansen (Ceramics and Glass)
Micki Harris (2 Painting)
Kailey Holzman (Art Portfolio, Digital Art)
Alessandra Lane (Photography)
Joshua Lily (Drawing and Illustration)
Crystal Panganiban (Photography)
Claire Pikul (Photography)
Bridget Plante (Photography)
Allison Quinn (Painting)
Richie Ray (Sculpture)
Elizabeth Restrespo (Photography)
Jose Sanchez (Digital Art)
Jennifer Shi (2 Painting)
Besiana Useni (2 Digital Art)
Hannah Wood (Digital Art)
Nicole Wroblewski (2 Drawing and Illustration)

Monday, January 26, 2015

2105 Winter Guard Season Opening Weekend

Congratulations to to members of the DGS Winter Guard for a tremendous debut weekend to their competitive season.  Competing in a double-header on Saturday and Sunday, the team scored a 61.44 at Wabounsie Valley, placing them 5th out of 7 ensembles in their class.  Continuing on Sunday, the team scored a 62.19, placing them 6th out of 12 ensembles in their class.  The trajectory of improvement over the opening weekend sets a great tone for the rest of the season.

Special "shout-out" to our friends from DGN for helping with tarp management at the competition on Saturday!  Great work team - we are looking forward to the rest of the season!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mustang Jazz Musicians thrive at the 25th Purdue Jazz Festival

Congratulation to the student musicians from the Jazz Workshop, Jazz Lab Band and the Jazz Ensemble for their participation in the 2015 Purdue Jazz Festival.  Over 60 middle and high school bands participated in the festival, which celebrated its’ 25th year of existence this year.

Jazz Workshop, Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band earned Division I ratings from the panel of judges.  Jazz Lab Band earned the Outstanding Performance award, second place in their room out of 14 bands.  From those 14 bands, junior vocalist Gabrielle Henderson was named the Outstanding Soloist for the entire day, earning a scholarship to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for summer study.

Numerous student musicians were cited by the adjudicators for Outstanding Musicianship for their performances today:

Paul Gurnic, trombone
Gabrielle Henderson, piano
Myles Henderson, piano
Jack Herstowski, guitar
Joe Kreidl, baritone saxophone
Tommy Leinart, piano (2) 
Andrew Pawelczyk, drums
Dan Piccoli, alto saxophone
Cassie Plata, tenor saxophone
Max Pokyrznycki, clarinet
Emily Rzeszutko, trumpet
Sam Tedeschi, bass
Melissa Wang, drums
Kat Woltman, bass

“These Mustang musicians represented their school and community with personal and sonic dignity this weekend. “ said Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams.  “ This was a fabulous jazz immersion experience.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jazz Night 2015

Congratulations to the over 170 student musicians from seven different jazz bands from five different schools that participated in the 2015 Jazz Cafe tonight at South High School in Downers Grove.  The varied repertoire during the course of the evening (27 different compositions) provided the audience with a stunning breadth and depth in jazz performance.

Special kudos to the students and directors from our sender schools for participating this evening:  Matt Janus and the Eisenhower Junior High School Jazz Band, Keith Carlson and the "Friends of Jazz" from Jefferson Junior High School, Brian Ohlsen and the Lakeview Junior High School Jazz band, and Dave Balika and the O'Neill Middle School Jazz Band.  With so many students performing at such a high level, the sonic future burns brightly for Downers Grove and the surrounding communities.  

Jazz Cafe 2015 - TONIGHT!

Re-scheduled from last week due to Polar Vortex 2.0, Jazz Cafe 2015 is happening tonight in the cafetorium at South High School starting at 6:00 PM.  Featuring seven student jazz ensembles from five different schools, this event is an annual patron favorite.  Admission is free.

If you are unable to attend tonight live at DGS, tune us in remotely on the High School Cube.  The broadcast can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.